#VMworld 2018 – Announcements for the VMware Cloud Provider Program (#VCPP)

Just in time for this years VMworld VMware has updated key products around their cloud portfolio for service provider. Within the VMware Cloud Provider Program (CSPP) a Service Provider can use VMware’s technologies and offer public IT services for their customer, while being charged only for the workload that is used (and therefore sold) to the customer.

Using the SDDC stack (vSphere, NSX, vSAN, vRealize) and integrate it within vCloud Director (and its add-ons like vCloud Director Extender) service provider can use a fully software-defined stack to add value for their customer by adding Services on top of this platform.

vCloud Director 9.5

vCloud Director 9.5 has been announced with new feature sets and enhancements:

  1. Further integration with existing NSX functionality:
    • Cross vCenter NSX functionalities:
      Using cross vCenter within NSX offers people to create NSX objects (transport zones, logical switch, logical routers) on a ‘universal’ level. Those universal objects there span multiple vCenter and reduces the potential workload boundary of a single vCenter. Integrate this into vCloud Director gives the cloud architect the advantage to be more flexible since vCloud organizational network can be spanned across multiple vCenter.
  2. First step towards the NSX-T integration
    • What the hell is NSX-T? NSX-v is the solution vSphere guys are familiar with. Integrated within the vCenter, it helps us to create agile networks within the vSphere world. NSX-T is VMware’s solution to offer the same agility across multiple platforms and hypervisors (vSphere, KVM, Cloud). It has never been officially mentioned, but I expect on a (very) long term it will replace NSX-v in a vSphere agnostic world. Building first integrations of NSX-T into vCloud Director is a good sign that vCloud Director will align closely this new technology. Integrating the NSX-T platform will set a foundation for a much tighter hybrid-cloud & container integration within vCloud Director.
  3. Enhancements to the HTML5 tenant portal
    • YES YES YES… Flash is dead… It took a while, but the speed of html5 front-ends within VMware’s products is finally at a speed where we see continuous progress. So far the tenant portal within vCloud Director has lacked a lot of functionality. So far I haven’t had any hands on on the newest UI version, but any progress here is really really appreciated. Why? The customer uses the portal to interact with his workload, VMs, networks. Its 2018: In times of Azure, AWS, etc we just cannot force a customer to use flash and a non-modern UI.
      With vCloud Director 9.5 not just the tenant portal gets an improvement. The administration portal for the admin is getting a first html5 refresh as well.
  4. Improvements to role-based access control
    • Until now I haven’t heard any concrete changes but let me quote the official statement. “The new RBAC framework provides a rights-model that is real-world, granular, and easily re-configurable”. Sounds great? Obviously! As soon as I get time for some hands on I will figure out how the new RBAC mechanism works out.
  5. Natively integrated data protection capabilities, powered by Dell-EMC Avamar
    • Offering backup capabilities as a Service Provider is always a challenge. So far the only fully vCloud Director integrated solution was coming from Veeam. Yeah, we all love Veeam for a justified reason and the vCloud capabilities are quite cool. With the Dell-EMC Avamar integration another possibility is made for service provider who (want or must) rely completely on a Dell EMC stack and still offer backup-services within vCloud Director.
      Why do we need a vCloud Director integration for a backup solution? vCloud Director adds management layer on top of vSphere and NSX adding metadata to workload relevant objects. If you want to recover from a failure it would create a huge additional recover effort. Avamar will integrate within the tenant portal of the vCloud Director to enable customers to do their recovery as a self-service.  Check out the brief solution overview if you are interested.
  6. vCloud Director Deployment via a virtual appliance
    • For years I was wondering why the vCloud Director hasn’t been shipped as a fully supported virtual appliance within the last years. Appliances are great if they are build properly and maintained in time.

Related Articles:

  1. Official blog post regarding vCloud Director 9.5
  2. Announcement of the Dell EMC Avamar backup solution for vCloud Director 


Cloud Provider Pod

The Cloud Provider Pod has been developed to easily enable service provider to setup a fully featured, supported and validated vCloud Director environment based on the requirements of the service provider.
Using the Cloud Provider Pod core functionality is a fully automated day-0 vCloud deployment that is fully documented.

What’s the advantage for a Service Provider?

  1. A quick way to evaluate vCloud Director and its impact advantages for the own business
  2. Deploying a environment based on validated design principles
  3. Reduction of problems due to manual misconfiguration
  4. Leveraging existing hardware to create value added services

Related Articles:

  1. Official blog post regarding VMware Cloud Provider Pod
  2. vLenzker blog post about Cloud Provider Pod
  3. Official product page 

VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR

The story behind vCloud Availability is a little bit difficult to understand. When we talk about the hybrid capabilities of vCloud Director with the following solutions:

  • vCloud Extender: Integrate vCloud Director of the Service Provider with the vCenter of a tenant for layer 2 network extension and workload migration capabilities
  • vCloud Availability: Offering of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to replicate and recover workload across multiple platforms.

Within the vCloud Availability solution currently two products exist:

  • vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR

  • vCloud Availability for DR to Cloud

It is important to know that those are 3 different products, each of them serving different use cases with interoperability limitations. Please read the availability blog posts of  Daniel Paluszek to get a better understanding about the specific characteristics and features.
What has been announced at VMworld has been VMware vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR 1.5. That release increases the scale tremendously to the requirements of larger service provider.

Whats new?

  • Scaleability improvements:
    • 110 concurrent failover protections
    • Over 3,000 active protections across 100 tenants.
    • 7 replication instances
  • Integration into the html5 tenant portal
  • REST API for automated consumption

If you want to know more, please go through Daniels blog posts

Related Articles:

  1. vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR deeper dive by Daniel Paluszek
  2. Official blog post regarding vCloud Availability for Cloud-to-Cloud DR
  3. vCloud Availability and Extender overview

VMware vCloud Usage Insight Service

vCloud Usage Meter is the main tool for how a Service Provider is getting billed by VMware. With vCloud Usage Insight Service a SaaS solution has been created the integrates with vCloud Usage Meter 3.6.x that addresses multiple pain points that has been shown in the past.

  • Auto-upload to Business Portal: Pre-populates usage into Business Portal making it ready for you to review.
  • Aggregation of usage: Automatically aggregates usage across all Usage appliances by contract and site
  • Integration with vCloud Usage Meter 3.6.x
  • Supports end user reporting
  • Simple on-boarding process with delegation to multiple operators
  • Full control to edit usage in Business Portal before submitting.
  • Secure data transfer and storage
  • Data is anonymized for complete privacy

If you want further information, please have a look at the freshly created usage meter microsite

Related Articles:

  1. Official VMware announcement of VMware vCloud Usage Insight Service
  2. vCloud Usage Meter overview microsite

The VMware Cloud Provider Program is gaining momentum. If you want to become part of the program you find all relevant information right here

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